Less than a week after she announced her first album in nearly half a decade, Beyoncé is back with her first offering from her new era and it's a bop.
Related | Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' Is Coming
The first single off her forthcoming album, Renaissance, Beyoncé returned today with "Break My Soul" and it's quickly making its way to the top of the charts as an early contender for song of the summer. An upbeat 90s vocal house tune about quitting your job, "Break My Soul" features a bouncy bassline reminiscent of Robin S' classic "Show Me Love" (both songwriters, Allen George and Fred McFarlane, of the original hit are credited on the track) and samples Big Freedia's "Explode" for a verse and the intro.
"Break My Soul" actually marks the second time the New Orleans Bounce legend has collaborated with Bey having previously kicked off her last album rollout on "Formation." In a kind of full circle moment for the two artists, Big Freedia tweeted “It feels surreal to be on the track with the Queen Beyonce once again I’m so honored to be apart of this special moment I’m forever grateful lord.”
From Beyoncé following the trend of pop stars embracing the '90s era of house to the track's message of resilience and self-love coinciding with the post-pandemic wave of people re-evaluating their career choices, there's plenty to dig into with "Break My Soul." For starters, Beyoncé's choice of references — Robin S' "Show Me Love" and NOLA Bounce's most prominent figure, Big Freedia — marks an implicit nod to house as being an inherently queer Black genre of music, that has its own set of intersectional connections to working class struggles and cathartic refuge for marginalized communities.
\u201cIt feels surreal to be on the track with the Queen Beyonce once again I\u2019m so honored to be apart of this special moment I\u2019m forever grateful lord \ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffe\u2764\ufe0f\u2764\ufe0f\u2764\ufe0f\u2764\ufe0f\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25someone please catch me \ud83e\udd29 #beyonce #bigfreedia #BreakMySoul\u201d— Big Freedia \ud83d\udc8b (@Big Freedia \ud83d\udc8b) 1655780537
From Drake's recent surprise album which incorporated elements of Baltimore club to Charli XCX's Crash which features a lot of the same musical influences including sampling the same Robin S track on "Used to Know Me," the 90s pop house revival is currently in full effect and Beyoncé clearly has her finger on the pulse. With all of Beyoncé's quit your soul-sucking job rhetoric in lyrics like “I just fell in love / and I just quit my job” and “Damn, they work me so damn hard / Work by nine / Then off past five," there's also echoes of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" in "Break My Soul" on the one hand railing against the oppressive nature of capitalism (even if she personally may detached from the stresses and burnout plaguing those of us non-multimillionaires) and on the other sending a positive uplifting message that self-love should be tantamount above all else.
Not that we expected Beyoncé's return to be anything less than triumphant but who knew that it would come with a renewed appreciation for house's Black queer history and reignite the discourse around a general strike at the same time. Check out the full range of reactions, memes and hot takes below.
\u201cKinda love the fact Beyonce ensured she provided an official soundtrack for The Great Resignation. #BreakMySoul is a great way to introduce us to the vibes of Renaissance. \n\nThe disco girlies are really being fed by pop babes atm\u201d— N\u1ecd\u0301l\u00e1 Thee Journalist (@N\u1ecd\u0301l\u00e1 Thee Journalist) 1655804514
Photo via Getty/ Larry Busacca/ MTV1617
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